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Inspiration Networks Fights for Tax Exemption

INDIAN LAND, S.C.: Inspiration Networks, the religious broadcaster founded by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, is fighting for tax exemption on its 92-acre campus in South Carolina. Inspiration is contesting the decision by the state, according to The Herald of Rock Hill., S.C. and WCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate in nearby Charlotte, N.C.

Neither source indicated why the state had decided to deny tax-exempt status for the campus, where Inspiration started moving its headquarters a few years ago. A state official merely told The Herald that Inspiration’s campus didn’t “fall under any of the allowed exemptions.” It currently has two buildings, including the 118,000-square-foot offices and book store, while planned condos and a media facility have not yet been built.

The state provided a $1.2 million grant to build infrastructure for the network’s campus; the network in turn spent $56.5 million on its development. A $56 million valuation would yield $830,000 in annual property taxes for its home county, which has 19 percent unemployment, the article said.

Inspiration was built in the 1970s on the popularity of “The PTL Club,” hosted by the Bakkers until the scandal that bankrupted their ministries. The PTL Network was purchased in 1990 by Morris Cerullo for $7 million and eventually rebranded “Inspiration.”
— Deborah D. McAdams